L.A. Parking: How Did We Get Here?

When LAist set out to create a primer on the lightning-rod issue of L.A. parking — why it’s so exasperating, how we got here and where we are headed — it went straight to the experts at UCLA Luskin: Juan Matute, deputy director of the Institute of Transportation Studies; Donald Shoup, distinguished research professor of urban planning; and Associate Professor Michael Manville. As our reliance on cars grew in the years after World War II, minimum parking requirements were seen as essential, Matute said. Now, instead of too little parking in L.A., there is too much, Shoup argued. Some cities are relaxing parking requirements for new housing in high-density areas. After analyzing one such program, Manville found that it led to lower costs and more parking flexibility. The primer also cited Shoup’s book arguing that there is no such thing as free parking — the costs are just passed along to the entire community, including nondrivers.


 

Too Much Parking ‘Poisons Our Cities,’ Shoup Says

Donald Shoup, distinguished research professor of urban planning, shared his expertise on parking pitfalls and reforms in a wide-ranging conversation on the American Planning Association’s “People Behind the Plans” podcast. Shoup, author of “The High Cost of Free Parking” and editor of the recent “Parking and the City,” spoke of the long history of inequitable policies and made a case for “parking benefit districts,” which reinvest parking revenues directly into neighborhood improvements. Government-mandated minimum parking requirements for businesses are “a disease masquerading as a cure,” one that “poisons our cities with too much parking,” he said. Such policies have led to vast but vacant Home Depot lots and a six-story underground structure at Disney Hall that discourages Angelenos from stepping outside to create a vibrant urban landscape. Shoup concluded, “If you want more housing and less traffic, you shouldn’t limit the amount of housing at every site and require ample parking everywhere.”


 

Image of undercover police officer standing next to disabled parking spot to monitor for "improper" use of disabled parking permits

Torres-Gil and Shoup on Disabled Parking Fraud

In a story about the Los Angeles City Council’s recent vote to increase the disabled-parking fraud fine from $250 to $1,100, the Los Angeles Times spoke to two UCLA Luskin authorities. Fernando Torres-Gil, social welfare and public policy professor and director of the Center for Policy Research on Aging, said that increasing disabled parking places, stiffening the fine and stepping up enforcement will not solve the problem of disabled parking fraud. Donald Shoup, distinguished research professor of urban planning, added, “Someone who has a real disability should be very outraged at the lax enforcement of placard abuse and the lax enforcement of placard issuance.” Torres-Gil and Shoup advocate for a reform that would limit the number of disabled people who have access to the parking placards. They argued that the reform should not be feared. “Let’s just bite the bullet and deal with it now,” Torres-Gil said.


 

Man standing in unfinished garage

Garage Conversions Could Ease California Housing Crisis

Three UCLA Luskin-affiliated urban planning scholars co-authored a CityLab piece on single-car garage conversions as a way to ease the California housing crisis. The authors — Urban Planning Chair and Professor Vinit Mukhija, Distinguished Research Professor Donald Shoup and Anne Brown MURP ’14 Ph.D. ’18, an assistant professor of planning and policy at the University of Oregon — argued that homeowners should convert their garages into an apartment or accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to create more affordable housing in California. “Garage apartments create horizontal, distributed and almost invisible density, instead of vertical, concentrated and obvious density,” they argued. These units not only create more affordable housing but provide new avenues of income for homeowners and more secure neighborhoods, they wrote. “America can reduce the homelessness problem with a simple acknowledgment: Garages would be much more valuable for people than for cars,” the authors concluded.


 

Shoup Book Makes Planetizen’s Top 10

Donald Shoup’s latest book, “Parking and the City,” is among Planetizen’s Top 10 books of 2018. Planetizen says, “Donald Shoup has already written one of the most influential and consequential books in planning history, ‘The High Cost of Free Parking.’ Feeding the momentum of Shoup’s ongoing influence is a legion of devoted acolytes, known as Shoupistas . . . Shoup writes with unparalleled wit and style on the formerly technocratic matter of parking regulations.” The book’s 50 contributors include 11 former UCLA Luskin Urban Planning master’s and doctoral students.  The list of best titles published in 2018 features the work of distinguished authors writing on topics that also examine natural and environmental disasters, including earthquakes and the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, as well as poverty, public housing and sustainability. Shoup’s place in planning history was marked in 2018 with a spot on the American Planning Association’s timeline of key events in American city planning since 1900. “So long as it seemed impossible to reform parking policies, most planners didn’t think about trying,” Shoup said. “But attitudes toward parking policies are beginning to shift, and many planners now agree that parking reforms are both sane and practical.” — Stan Paul


 

Robert Poole: Rethinking America’s Highway Institutions

Robert Poole: Rethinking America’s Highway Institutions

Thursday, November 15
12:15 – 1:45 p.m.
Room 4320B, Public Affairs Building
Lunch will be served, beverages not provided
Robert Poole is the director of transportation policy at the Reason Foundation and the author of the new book “Rethinking America’s Highways, in which he argues that 20th century governance and funding model for highways is failing to solve chronic problems such as congestion, deferred maintenance, and poor resource allocation decisions, in addition to inadequate funding. He argues that other major utilities (electricity, telecommunications, water supply) are governed and funded very differently from highways, and that major 21st century highways should be re-configured as network utilities. He cites precedents for this in other countries and in the better performance of U.S. toll roads than of comparable highways. He also outlines a possible transition from the status quo to highway utilities, starting with the Interstate highways.
Mr. Poole’s work has introduced HOT lanes, express toll lanes, dedicated truck lanes, and long-term public- private partnerships to U.S. transportation. He has advised federal and state transportation agencies, testified before congressional and legislative committees, and served on advisory boards and commissions.

Shoup Offers Remedy for Pensacola’s Parking Woes

Donald Shoup, distinguished research professor of urban planning at UCLA Luskin, recently spoke at Pensacola, Florida’s CivicCon to address the city’s chronic issues with parking, including huge swaths of unused parking lots. According to the Pensacola News Journal, Shoup proposed three reforms to improve the city’s inefficient parking system: remove off-street parking requirements, charge the right prices for on-street parking and use parking revenue to improve public services on the metered streets. Shoup gave in-depth breakdowns of how each idea would improve the system as a whole. He also cited real-world examples of cities, such as Pasadena, where identical reform programs were successfully implemented. The overarching message behind Shoup’s presentation was that Pensacola should replace all on-street parking with a meter system; money raised from the meters would go directly back into the community to fund civic improvements to infrastructure, landscaping and general beautification. If all of his recommendations were adopted, Shoup argued, they would work in tandem to increase foot traffic and property values.


 

Villasenor Commentary Focuses on Diversity — of Viewpoints

In a commentary published by the Chronicle of Higher Education, John Villasenor of UCLA Luskin Public Policy and co-author Ilana Redstone Akresh of the University of Illinois discuss viewpoint diversity on college campuses. While complaints of political correctness in academia have been around for decades, Villasenor and Akresh argue that the dynamic has changed in recent years. “Social media are increasingly employed as a tool both for direct censorship and for strengthening the pressures to self-censor, significantly narrowing the range of permissible academic discourse,” they write.  Villasenor and Akresh advocate teaching students to examine multiple perspectives, explore nuance, question assumptions, and think critically in all aspects of their education. “Academic freedom exists and needs protection precisely because there are opinions that can both generate offense and have value,” they write. “This does not mean that all offensive ideas have value. But it does mean that the value of an idea cannot be judged solely on the basis of whether it offends.” Villasenor and Akresh write that “we need college faculties that are diverse racially, ethnically, religiously, and in terms of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and the viewpoints they bring to their research, teaching, and engagement with their communities.”


 

Shoup’s 2005 Book Earns Place in Planning History

UCLA Luskin Urban Planning’s Donald Shoup has made history. The American Planning Association has published a timeline of key events in American city planning since 1900, including Shoup’s book, “The High Cost of Free Parking,” published in 2005. In recognizing Shoup’s decades-long work to improve transportation and land use by reforming cities’ parking policies, the American Planning Association placed him among other well-known authors including Rachel Carson and Jane Jacobs. In his influential book, Shoup argued that parking requirements in zoning ordinances subsidize cars, increase traffic congestion, worsen air pollution, encourage sprawl, degrade urban design, damage the economy, raise housing costs, reduce walkability, accelerate global warming and harm everyone who cannot afford or chooses not to own a car. To address these problems, many cities are now adopting the parking reforms Shoup proposed.


 

New Shoup Book Reviewed in Parking Today

Parking and the City,” the recently published collection of more than 50 articles on parking and parking reform edited by Urban Planning’s Donald Shoup, continues to garner attention, including a review in Parking Today. “Reading a piece by Donald Shoup can be fun, but it will also force you to think about the subject,” writes John Van Horn. “This is a book those in the parking profession should read. It may not solve all of your problems, but it will get you to think about them from a different perspective.”